Vaccinating and Deworming Show Cattle
By now most of you have wrapped up all major livestock shows and county fairs. That means you either have or will be having a new crop of babies to start on feed. Starting cattle right is the most important part of the feeding process, in my opinion. All new cattle coming into the barn should first be vaccinated and wormed upon arrival. Even if you know the origin of the cattle and their vaccination protocol, I would revaccinate and de-worm. I recommend using a modified live BRD vaccine when the cattle arrive. The BRD vaccine should be boosted in three weeks. Personally, I have had good luck using an oral paste or “white” wormer on young calves. Common oral wormer brands like Valbazen and Safeguard provide a quality product that is easy to use.
The cost of revaccinating of a calf and deworming is less than $15-$20 dollars a head. Considering the cost of show cattle, this is a very minimal amount to ensure that they get started right.
Once new calves are vaccinated and wormed, they need to get started on feed. We have had a lot of success starting cattle using the Impact Starter, also known as, Accuration Starter Complete by Purina. This particular starter feed has a small amount of limiter built into it which prevents over eating and bloat. Another really palatable and good starter feed is the Pre Conditioning/ Receiving chow or “Precon” also made by Purina. This is a pelletized ration that cattle tend to go to and eat very well. Both feeds Precon and Impact starter are medicated, which helps get your cattle head in the right direction health wise and nutritionally.
If using Precon to start cattle, try to transition cattle to a developing ration after 14 days. Always mix feeds and slowly move to your show developer ration. Normally the mixing process should take about 5 days if done properly to get completely on the developer. Impact starter can be fed successfully for longer periods of time. Your conversion rates do go down the longer cattle stay on Impact past 21 days. Don’t try to get cattle too fat too quickly.Allow cattle time to grow and get their gut use to feed before slamming them with a high fat ration. I have started steers and heifers successfully using this method.
As always, provide a good clean environment and water. Cattle always start and eat better when fed together. If possible start young calves using a bunk trough. As you transition cattle to eat developer, you can try to separate them. Next month we will talk about successfully feeding show heifers through the summer.